By AMANDA COLLINS
A Stuart Town Council member quizzed town officials at the council meeting Wednesday night about the fate of the property that currently houses Shaw Flooring/Shaw Industries and formerly Stuart Flooring Corporation.
Terry Dalton asked fellow council members about future plans for the nearly 200,000 square-foot building that currently houses the flooring company, which is set to close at the end of the year, according to previous reports. Shaw Industries bought the facility from Stuart Flooring Corporation in 2010. It included production, maintenance, boiler, drying and transportation amenities, according to reports at the time.
Mayor Ray Weiland said the flooring company has not said specifically what they plan on doing with the property, but have said they may sell the entire property, equipment and all. The company may take it down piece by piece but are not 100 percent sure, he added.
Noting that companies sometimes may give property to the town/county, Weiland said if that happened in this case, the site possibly could be used as a “business incubator.” He suggested partitioning off the building for individuals who want to start their own business.
In other matters:
*Town Manager Terry Tilley said he was contacted by a staff member from Del. Charles Poindexter’s office, who asked what was needed in terms of new legislation, or if the town officials are aware of any changes they would like to see.
Town Attorney Chris Corbett said he hopes legislators will “not do harm” to localities during the upcoming session of the General Assembly.
“It happens every year, unfunded mandates that little towns have to abide by and have to pay for these changes that they are not providing money for,” Weiland said. “In the meantime, we have some business that are closing and that really cuts into our bottom line. We hope to draw in some other businesses,” but that’s not going to happen “by allowing a town to continue to degrade.
“We will have to push forward, hopefully someone will come in and take over,” Weiland said. “Finding a job around here is difficult. We would like to draw businesses here.”
*Tilley reported the town’s water system experienced an 18 percent water loss last month. The loss increased to 23 percent this month.
Some of the loss was due to leaks and more is due to the draining fire hydrants, Tilley said. He added there also were five or six leaks that were repaired. He said the goal is to get the amount of loss under 20 percent for next month.
Weiland asked about the status of possibly installing lines in the Ashby Development.
Tilley said work is underway on the location and size of the lines. He said piping costs are “out the roof and still climbing” due to disasters from tornadoes and hurricanes.
Weiland said upgrades are needed to the old equipment at the water/sewer treatment facility.
The town has a $1.4 million loan/grant award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help with the project. An engineering firm currently is putting plans together for the project. Vendors have been calling about equipment such as a fan press, according to Weiland, who said he is interested in visiting a place that has been using the fan press for a few years to determine how they like it and don’t like about it.
*Tilley said that the inside of the caboose will be worked on during the cooler weather. The floors will be done and the inside will be painted. Tilley said he spoke with AEP about installing a pole to have power at the caboose.
Weiland talked about eventually having a patio and possibly a video screen that provides the background of the railroad that came through Stuart.
Corbett said he seen people posing by the caboose to take photos.